Mission Statement

Chicago Metro Presbytery exists to extend the gospel and to oversee the work of the ministry of the PCA throughout the Chicago Metropolitan area to the glory of God.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Haiti Trip 7/30/19

Day 5
So many good things today! Having two days at Cavaillon means time for fun as well a "business" - the business of medical care - with 85 lively and fun loving children. You'll enjoy the pictures!

The team completed the checks-ups, charting, and whatever treatment of the girls were necessary today, and then turned their attention to the important tasks of bubbles and jump rope. Team members also spent time doing videotaped "interviews" with some of the children to personalize the connection sponsors already feel with these kids even more. Not everyone can visit in person, but hearing kids' voices and their thoughts will be great!

Tomorrow, the team shifts gears from orphanages and a primarily child based clientele at Cavaillon to a community based clinic at Savanne. Savanne is the poorest community in the relatively large city of Cayes, which is 30 minutes away from the guest house. It is so poor that there are no municipal services like hospitals or schools, no running water, and very little employment. No one who can live anywhere else chooses to live in Savanne.

And yet, the hope of the gospel is present. About five years ago, ESMI started a church there, and things started to change. The pervasive voudoo influences started to wane as people heard the gospel of Jesus and began to follow him. One of our medical teams was the first medical care EVER to come to Savanne, and people noticed that they worked "nan nom Jesi", in Jesus' name. This was indeed perplexing and new, and soon the curious residents were attending church services to hear more. Story after story of conversion, changed lives, and soon, modest then noticeable changes in the community life were evident. Still poor, still a fairly dangerous place - but different. Our medical team continued to come every six months, and then the water team came to bring the first clean water to the community. Both efforts spoke loudly to people who literally had been forgotten by their own government and people. Savanne is not exactly "fixed"...but its not as broken. God is at work.

Tomorrow the team will once again bring hope and healing in Jesus' name through medical care, individual prayer with patients, and the continued work on the damaged water system (which by the way, turned out to be not as damaged as was feared - after today's work, it's up and running again! And safely behind walls, with the solar panels up on raised poles.) The medical team is scheduled to spend tomorrow and Thursday in Savanne. There was no team sent to Haiti in February because of the unrest, so the need is even greater than usual.

As you pray for the team, please focus on these requests:
  • That the very needy in Savanne, who know the team's time and resources are limited, will be patient and not become panicky or unruly. The team has sent word ahead that they will prioritize children, pregnant moms, and the very sick. Pray that the hopeful patients understand. Fortunately, the team has many friends (several of whom are now leaders in the church) who can handle the crowds. 
  • For the continued work of the water team. After wrapping up in Savanne pretty quickly tomorrow with some finishing touches and ongoing hygiene training (since clean water does no good if you put it in dirty containers, for instance), they'll travel to Brevet, the next site for a church plant and a water system. They'll scope out the particulars and do some prep work for the next team. When you consider how many lives are lost to dysentery, cholera, and parasites in water, their work is critical to the health and well being of Haitians. We're proud of them, and grateful for the financial sponsors who underwrite the cost of each installation.
  • For the children of Cavaillon to to thrive physically and spiritually, and for the necessary sponsorship and underwriting to continue so that they can live in a healthy and safe place. 
  • Continue to pray for electricity to be available in sufficient quantity and reliability at the guest house. It came on in the middle of the night last night (including AC), and was worked on today so that it came on about 9:30 tonight, but it appears to be held together with spit and gum and glue instead of a a real "fix". The electricity is needed for showers and toilets as well as for lights and phone chargers. After a long, hot day today, its return tonight was cause for celebration by the team!
Please enjoy the pictures from today...

Sunrise at the guest house this morning

Baby care for the houseparents' baby

New friends

We weren't kidding about the kids' teeth!

Please pray for a dentist (or six) to join the team!

Lunch time at Cavailion. What progress...they used to have their meals on their beds.Two meals a day..rice, beans, and protein.


Jump rope!

New friends

Ann Powers
Chicago Friends of Haiti

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Haiti Trip 7/29/19

Day 4
Today was a great way to start the ministry week - at Cavaillon! Read on for the update below on the day but PLEASE first, stop to pray for this new challenge...

The generator at the guest house caught fire today as it was turned on late this afternoon. Billows of smoke and flame made it clear it was no small event. A quick word sent to the facilities director resulted in some folks coming who had the knowledge to splice together some still intact wires to provide partial electricity - enough for lights, water pumps, and phone charging, but not enough to push the generator output high enough for AC. The team will be sleeping in hot rooms tonight, or make the choice to bathe themselves in bug spray and sleep on the open air veranda. Please pray that the generator is fixable, parts are available, and maintenance staff knowledgeable. New generators are not likely easy to come by, and no AC all week will definitely impact the team. They are grateful for lights and water tonight, for sure!

...And now, on to the rest of the update!
The team got to spend about 8 hours today with the children at Cavaillon So many of the children there are known to our repeating team members, and it is place dear to the hearts of many others who support these children and are working to make Cavaillon a safe and beautiful place for them to live. The reunion and introductions were jubilant and exuberant!

The team was delighted to see a new development - a beautiful vegetable garden, growing carrots, spinach, squash, and eggplant. And they've already had their first harvest! Another supporting ministry, Give Hope, paid an agronomist to build/plan a garden at Cambry including a watering structure, and they generously paid for Cavaillon to get one, too. The children are learning how to grow things and be responsible for growing and tending the nourishing plants. It's a wonderful thing!

First order of business today was taking care of the housemoms. Our teams try very hard to let them know they are valued and seek to show them care in a variety of ways. They are given their own gift bags of personal supplies with each visit, get a special thank you and devotional, are asked for their input and knowledge about the children's progress and issues, and lastly all receive their own medical check ups.

And then, the kids! Everyone starts with scabies wash (a skin parasite that is not dangerous but very quick to spread with a CRAZY itch, which often causes secondary skin infections, which can be dangerous), then to intake (vitals check, chart updates), then triage (do you need to see a doctor, or just need basic care like vitamins?), then finally, for those that need it, to the doctor or PA. After that a stop at the pharmacy (with an adult) to get whatever meds you might need. At the same time, pictures were taken for charts and for sponsors.

Today, all of the boys - 53 of them, were seen by the medical team. Tomorrow, the 32 girls get their turn.

Although the children seen today were in pretty good shape, there were some things that caused concern - their teeth, for one thing. Most have never seen a dentist, and the need is intense. Secondly, the younger children do not seem to have grown as much as would be expected, although the larger children have. Could this be that the food disruption earlier in the year impacted the little ones more severely? Another possibility is that the year's gap in treatment has allowed intestinal parasites to get a foothold, so the medical team will treat them all with doses to eradicate any in their system over three days instead of the usual one. They will be followed by the local medical team after our team leaves at the end of the week.

The water team was pleased to see that the system in Cavaillon is working as intended with no problems. Tomorrow the team tackles the system in Savanne, which suffered significant damage in the civil unrest of the past several months. Now there is a security wall in place, so a repair/rebuild ought to last. They'll be spending up to three days on that project. If time allows, they'll move to LaHatte to evaluate that location (an old system installed by others, but a new well) and possibly do some planning at Brevette for a future trip's installation. The water team will not be out of work in Haiti for a long time!

If you've made it to the end of this long update, please make it through to these important prayer requests - and then finally - some pictures from the day!
  • Pray for the generator at the guest house. This situation will impact the team's ability to enter into refreshing rest after long, hot days and could affect their health. Ask God to provide what is needed.
  • Pray that a dentist will hear of the need the children have for dental care and respond by coming on the next trip...and several dentists on succeeding trips! If you can ask one to consider it, please do!
  • Pray for the children of Cavaillon to thrive and grow in health and well being. Praise God for the generosity of donors who have brought their physical surroundings up to the current higher standards, including a new kitchen, new shower/bathroom facilities, the garden, a water purification system and better sleeping quarters. There is still more to do!
  • Please continue to pray for Nicholson, the boy who fell off a truck and injured his arm. His bandages were changed tonight (not without some discomfort!) and it's looking better. The team was told he did have an x ray but no bones were broken. The medical team believes there's at least a small fracture of the elbow, but there's no treatment they can provide for that.
And now, some pictures!

Devotions to start the day

Loading up for Cavaillon!

A new garden at Cavaillon

Cavaillon house moms

Checking weight, height, blood pressure...and vitamins


To the Physician's Assistant (PA) and doctor

Last stop: Pharmacy

All new clothes - lots of superheroes and sports teams!

Checking out the water purification system at Cavallion - working great!

The natural beauty of Haiti - from the rooftop of the guest house

Ann Powers
Chicago Friends of Haiti

Monday, July 29, 2019

Haiti Trip 7/28/19

Day 3
A good night's sleep in air conditioning did much to revive our team's energy and provide the fuel for a good day of worship and preparation today. And after that - some more time to relax.

The team joined the congregation in Cambry this morning for worship. Haitian worship services typically run two hours, with plenty of heartfelt singing, perhaps some dancing to the Lord in the aisles, and a sermon. Plans to attend a second worship service in Cayes were changed when the team heard of a rescheduling (the first of many, no doubt, this week!) of the service times to accommodate a special conference this weekend focusing on preparing young leaders. So instead of two services this morning, they'll be attending one this evening as part of that conference, at which the team leader, Ted, will be preaching.

This afternoon was dedicated to unpacking the duffels and re-organizing the contents for use this week. The team will be visiting at least two different places this week, perhaps three, so the goal today was to get ready for two days of ministry in Cavaillon on Monday and Tuesday. Restocking will take some time each night, but today was the big job! At the end of the week, whatever medical and clothing supplies are left over will stay at Cavaillon for the housemoms and medical staff to use for the children until the next team's visit. The water purification system parts and supplies brought this week will be used to repair and replace whatever might be needed in the locations the water team visits.

As they worked on the open air veranda, there was enough of a breeze to keep them comfortable in the 98 degree heat. Eventually a storm came through, which cooled the air at least for a while!

One of the visitors this afternoon from the orphanage at the bottom of the hill was Nicholson, who usually lives at Cavaillon, so he's well known to our repeating team members. Nicholson has albinism and is partially blind, both of which unfortunately mark him for teasing and bullying by the other children at the orphanage. In an effort to break that cycle of behavior, he's been at the Cambry orphanage this summer. But he's run into other troubles recently...he and another chlld fell of the back of a truck and both (apparently) have broken bones. The medical team got involved today, as his skin was badly scraped up and needed attention. They're working on a plan to have x rays done and get him on the right medications, but meanwhile they swathed him in neosporin and bandaged his arm.

A point of clarification...Alas, the cool water for showers mentioned earlier was incorrect. In fact, especially in the summer, the water coming out of the shower spigot is actually too hot! The shower water comes from large tanks that are on the roof of the compound and the stored water rises in temperature as the days get hotter. Sometimes it's actually scalding hot!

Please pray...
  • For another night of good rest in cool rooms, flushing toilets and refreshing showers.
  • For continued health in the heat and with a different diet
  • For safe travel to Cavaillon, about 45 minutes away from the compound. They'll travel by SUV/pick up trucks driven by ESMI staff. Pray also that the team would deal with the heat of the day and barely controlled energy of the 85 kids who live there - there will be a lot of excitement, kids and adults!
  • For great times with the kids, whose care is sponsored by a consortium of churches and individuals, administrated by Chicago Friends of Haiti. The team will spend two days there, so their medical needs can be assessed and dealt with, but also so there can be time for fun together. 
  • For the housemoms at Cavaillon, who bear the responsibility of caring for the kids on a daily basis. 
  • For the team to get into a good rhythm for working together. They will stay very busy!
  • Haiti is a place where the truth of the gospel comes up against the darkness of deeply embedded voudoo belief systems in ways that are very different than Americans can usually grasp second hand. Please pray that the gospel shared by our team will go forth and bear fruit in that environment, and the Jesus' hand of protection will be on all those in Haiti who proclaim it. 
As always, the team appreciates your support and prayers as they begin their week of service in Haiti, in Jesus' name.

Some pictures from their day...

Church service at Cambry

Nicholson's injury

All bandaged up

The organization begins!

Ready to go :)

An afternoon downpour

Good Shepherd Church in Cayes (Bon Berger in Haitian Creole)

The youth conference at Good Shepherd

Ann Powers
Chicago Friends of Haiti

Haiti Trip 7/27/19

Day 2
After some flight delays and a short night's sleep in Miami, the team climbed aboard their first of three modes of today's transportation at 4:00 am EST this morning, a brief shuttle to the airport. Soon after, they boarded their second, the plane to Port au Prince, which was on time and provided a safe trip.

Customs was it's usual hurdle. Always slow (as it seems to be in many places around the world!), this time they also encountered agents who refused to recognize the validity of the official paperwork allowing the team to bring in thousands of dollars worth of medicine. Of course, the paperwork was valid, having been properly processed, signed by the right government officials, and hand delivered to the customs agent by an ESMI staff member as the team arrived. All of that to no avail without additional "surcharges", which are an unfortunate facet of ministry in Haiti. However, after some wasted time, frustrating conversations, and a cash transaction, the team left with all their belongings as well as all of the precious duffel bags full of medicines and other supplies.

The next conveyance was a coach bus, which took them out of Port au Prince and to the west. Getting to Cambry, their base of operations for the week, was an uneventful five and a half hour trip and their arrival was earlier than expected. Settling in, unpacking, and assembling for dinner together of goat, rice, beans, and plantain all preceded their first team meeting in the evening. With a short night's sleep and a long day of travel, all were grateful for an early night and some time to decompress.

Their accommodations for the week include dorm style bunkbeds separated into mens' and womens' quarters, with a few adequate although not lavish bathrooms and showers. The water is neither plentiful nor hot coming out of the showers, but after a long steamy day it is a welcome relief. The electricity (and therefore air conditioning) is provided by a generator, which is on only in the evenings. Given the tropical heat of summertime in Haiti, sleeping in air conditioning is not really a luxury, but more of a necessity to being refreshed for service the next day. Heatstroke and exhaustion are a real concern for our summer trip team members who have not had time to acclimate to the heat, and all are reminded to be careful about sun exposure and to drink more water than they would ever need at home. Bottled water, that is!

Tomorrow is a day of church (two services, if they prefer; one of the team members will be preaching at two different churches), duffel bag unpacking, sorting, and repacking for strategic use on Monday and Tuesday, and hopefully more good rest before a busy week begins. There's an evening service they can attend, as well. A contingent of children from the orphanage at the bottom of the hill usually also find a way to saunter up to greet the team, looking for familiar faces whom they delight to greet from visit to visit. And the returning team members are also delighted to see them, happy to see they're thriving and how they've grown. Communication takes some creativity, but everybody understands big smiles.

Please pray:
  • For rest and good acclimation to very different surroundings for the team. It can be a jarring environment, especially encountering poverty at levels and as pervasive as is the reality in Haiti
  • For continued health as they eat new foods and deal with the heat, With that, for consistent electricity in the compound for air conditioning and wifi, for communication with family at home. Tonight, the cell signals seem to be working, even though the wifi doesn't. 
  • For a sense of teamwork to develop as they begin their first big task tomorrow - the sorting of the duffels! And for all things during the week in Haiti - flexibility. Things have a tendency to go differently than "as planned". 
  • For the worship tomorrow with God's people in Haiti. It will be different - longer, louder, more free flowing than many American church worship services - but joy filled and uplifting. Please pray that the preacher/team member, Ted, will be able to communicate and connect well, and have the stamina necessary to preach twice in the daytime heat. 
Team members who have been to Haiti in the past are quick to recognize the incredibly important role supporters play in their week. To those who provided funding or materials, we thank you. To those who pray as the week goes on, we are grateful for your partnership. Their ministry is significantly more fruitful because of the prayers of God's people!

And now, a few pictures to give you a glimpse into the day!

Our full team - from Chicago, Cincinnati, and California

Moving through immigration and customs

Making their way to Cambry on the coach bus.

Visiting with ESMI staffer Ezekiel, a frequent translator for the team and community health worker - with his wife and baby

Thanks for your support!
Ann Powers
Chicago Friends of Haiti

Haiti Trip 7/26/19

Day 1
Nan Nom Jesi

The summer Haiti Missions Team is assembling in Miami tonight in advance of traveling together to Port au Prinee very early tomorrow. The Chicago and Cincinnati crews just arrived there; the California folks arrive later. The team of 10 comes comes with a united purpose of serving and loving the people of Haiti by meeting their physical and spiritual needs in Jesus' name.

From Port au Prince, after airport customs (with 1000 pounds of supplies stuffed into duffel bags - clothes, medicines, and water systems parts and materials) they will meet a coach bus driver who will take them on the perhaps 6 hour road trip to Cambry, their base of operation this week.

The team is grateful for your partnership and support during this week. Our goal is to share an update late each evening while the team is in Haiti.

This evening, please pray for
  • Continued safe travel to Miami, to Port au Prince, and to Cambry. It will be a very early morning (their flight leaves Miami at 6:00 am) and a long day tomorrow. They hope to be at Cambry in time for a late dinner.
  • The health of the team as they start a very busy, stressful, and hot week, eating different foods and working in environments that will definitely NOT feel like home
  • Good, restorative (even though brief) sleep this evening
As you are led, please use this guide to pray for Haiti and our team this week. More specific prayer requests will come each day, as well.
The land of Haiti itself – bringing hope and health through the power of the gospel and meeting needs in the Name of Jesus; for the current civil war to come to an end and for peace and justice

The church in Haiti – especially the churches and pastors of ESMI and the Reformed Church of Haiti (159 churches to date)

Dony (Sharon) and Louis St Germain (Martina) and their families, the founders and leaders of


The ESMI Board
ESMI Staff
  • Pastor Dieusel Mongerard (oversees 5 churches we work with including Savanne)
  • Fanuel
  • Richard
  • The 85 children living at the Children's Village and the Haiti Orphan Project, which works with supporters to cover the children's needs for lodging, clothing food, medical care, and education
  • Serge and Ramonde, the directors of the Cavaillon Children’s Village
  • Dr Patrick Pierre
  • Nurse Berline Dimanche
  • Nicolas Pierre (school principal)
  • House Moms - Dadie Fantezie, Audline Charlette, Luciani St-Victor, Domersant Andrenise, Franchise Philippe, Wosni, Amazan
Facility Development:
  • Water Committee and water system 
  • Praise for funds to to complete repairing and supplying the school (destroyed by Hurricane Matthew) and finishing the toilets and showers 
  • Praise for the new cafeteria (kitchen and dining hall), security wall, and water system
  • Generally for Cavaillon to be a vibrant mission overall and the spiritual, educational, and economic hub of the region. 
  • For the planting of 5 new churches in the region
  • Pastor Mongerard and leaders
  • Installation of water system and building of a wall
  • Jude – family and work
  • Antoine – family and work
  • Business/job development
  • School and medical clinic
Other locations: La Hatte, Maniche, Port Salut, Brevette (Les Cayes), Mayan, Dariverger, Big House (Bigareuse), Duchitie,

Chicago Friends of Haiti
  • For the Board and their ongoing oversight, management, vision, and strategic development
  • Praise for finally receiving our 501c3 designation as a charitable organization recognized by the IRS
  • Haiti Orphan Project (Jen Fenton, Colleen DeKraker, Jess Kerslake)
  • Trip Coordination (Barb Mills) 
  • Medical Ministry (Kay Kelly and team at NPC)
  • Water Systems (Wayne Dingler, Chuck Michalek and team)

The Chicago based team - ready to go!

Thank you for your support,

Ann Powers
Chicago Friends of Haiti